Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Today's Potential

Often, while my coffee is brewing, I thank God for the great things in my life and then pray about future things involving family, health and well being. After that, I begin to think "what am I going to do today?" As a retiree, my days are often a blank slate and ready to be filled. The potential for a great day is there every morning! Do I want a day of rest and relaxation? Such a day may include a little reading, blogging and other menial tasks. Do I want a day of household chores? This would include laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, etc. Or, do I want a day of fun? This would include a day that would involve a new destination, a new dining experience or new activity. 

I wake well before my wife. So, I have time to think about the potential of the day. I must think about time limits and costs while thinking about the opportunities that the day may have. A recent "day of fun" for me, was an hour trip to a new BBQ place and then some metal detecting. The BBQ place was outstanding and I found a few treasures while detecting. The day was awesome! The day was a great "retirement day". One of those days that I envisioned when I thought about retiring while sitting at my desk. 

In retirement, as the saying goes above, "everyday had the potential to be the greatest day in your life". How true is that! If we approach everyday with a wide eyed expectation of the potential that this day has, what a great day we can have. If you get up in the morning and expect a great day to be relaxing, reading and listening the the birds outside, so be it. You do just that and enjoy your great day. 

If you wake up and decide to be a "man of action" and mow the yard, paint the fence and clean the cars, so be it and have one awesome day!. If you wake up and decide to pick up litter along the road or feed the homeless at the local shelter, so be it. And, have a great day serving others! Each day has so much potential and we should all look to maximize that to our personal need. 

I am much more of a planner than my wife. I do like to have things organized and thought out for most trips and vacations. But, I am also getting better at just taking off and doing something without a lot of thought. Do you spend a lot of time planning your retirement days? Or do you get up, like I do most mornings, and begin to look at the potential of today? I keep a list of possibilities in my notes on my phone. I often watch a show called "Discover Oklahoma" and note any places to see or new dining places. Then, when I am out and about or planning a day trip in the state, I can access my list as a reminder of new things to do.

I've posted before about "bucket lists", but do you have a list of smaller items that you want to do or see that really don't qualify as a "bucket list" item. I think of "bucket list" items as things like a trip to Italy or a trip to the Grand Canyon and other grand ideas. While my smaller list includes a few museums, ice cream shops and BBQ joints. 

However you keep lists, or don't keep lists, just make sure you get out there and enjoy that retirement day!

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Mayonnaise Cake

One of my favorite recipes of my mother's is mayonnaise cake. As a youngster, I always cringed a little bit when she would mention making mayonnaise cake because it sounded a little gross. But, when all said and done, it was a pretty delicious cake. Her mayonnaise cake recipe is for a chocolate cake with warm chocolate icing poured on top. It is still one of my most favorite cakes. The coca cola cake at Cracker Barrel is similar to mom's mayonnaise cake. 

When my kids were growing up, mom had to tell them she made mayonnaise cake but without the mayonnaise so they would eat it. They always loved the cake with the belief that the nasty mayonnaise had been left out! To a kid, mayonnaise in a cake just doesn't seem right. It would be the same as saying you made a broccoli cake.

Another favorite cake of mine is carrot cake. Who knew that carrots in a cake would be delicious? I'm sure there are a lot of other delicious recipes that don't sound so great when you mention the ingredients. Do you have a favorite recipe like "mayonnaise cake" that sounds a little weird, but it delicious? Do you have a great recipe for broccoli cake or something similar? 

Have you dabbled in new recipes in retirement? Are you cooking more home cooked meals and desserts in retirement? If not, it is time for you to get busy and come up with the next great mayonnaise cake!

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Multiple Income Streams

Recently I have seen several serious articles about retirees needing multiple income streams for a good retirement. The last one I read mentioned that 7 income streams would be the best. That is a lot of different income streams!    

I began to add mine up and I think I may have the 7! I am a federal retiree and the federal system is a three tier system in which you draw a pension, 401K (Thrift Savings Plan TSP) and Social Security. The TSP portion can be small or large depending on your personal savings rate during your career. Some employees choose not to save much and thus their balance at retirement is pretty small. Some employees may max out their savings and have that part of their retirement be pretty substantial.

So, my retirement from the government gives me three income streams of #1 pension, #2 TSP withdrawals and #3 Social Security. I work part time doing a little contract work. Last year I made about $200 I think. The work was there for me but the will to get back into the working class was not too great last year. So, my part time job is income stream #4. I get a little interest off a savings account at my bank, so there is stream #5 interest income. This income stream is more like a trickle as the interest does not add up to much but was greater than stream #4 last year.  Now I really have to stretch to add additional income streams. Every year I throw any found coins into a wooden bowl on my bedroom dresser and then count it and cash it in at the end of the year. This is my income stream #6. I counted my bowl as of this date and for the first 3+ months of 2023, that income stream has a total of $6.93. Also in that bowl are numerous coins that I found in CoinStar reject bins at the grocery store that are from Mexico, Canada and Israel. I can't even spend part of the found money stream in this country!

I've talked about my hobby of metal detecting in past posts. Guess what? This is my income stream #7! Much like my found money, my detecting coins also are saved, cleaned and counted at the end of the year. My best year so far has been $85.03. I know, I know, not much of an income stream. I'm not sure if the authors of the "multiple income stream" articles would approve of many of my streams being income streams, but it works for this guy! My wife and I live on #1-3, the rest are just extra pocket money. 

Have you read about multiple income streams recently? I would think if you had one large stream, you could retire just fine. Do you have multiple income streams that make up your retirement? I can imagine there are a lot of retirees that collect income on dividends, part time jobs, rental properties and other traditional income producing investments. Do you have any income trickles, like several of mine listed above? I posted once on side hustle jobs. Maybe that is one or more of your income streams.

Oooh! I just remembered I have an upcoming cruise to Mexico, maybe I can spent that 50 pesos in my found money bowl!

Saturday, April 8, 2023

A Trip To The Library


I haven't visited our local public library in several months but made a trip there last week to meet my daughter and granddaughter. The library was very well lit and inviting. My daughter browsed for some children's books while my granddaughter took me back to a small play area. She played with some building blocks and wrote on an erasable sketch pad. Another mother sat in a nice chair in the area, reading, while her daughter played. It was very quiet and relaxing.

I found many books that I would like to read and picked out two. I figured that was about all I could get read in the three week time limit for checking them out. When leaving the library, we checked ourselves out quickly and without issue. The checkout table would scan your library card and then would scan and record the books as you placed them on a table. The whole process was easy and enjoyable.

I told myself that I need to put library visits on my weekly "to do list". They still have a decent amount of magazines to browse through and had a the local newspaper as well as the Wall St. Journal. I think I could easily spend an hour or two catching up on the current magazines and news. I noticed they had This Old House magazine that I could probably pick up a tip or inspiration from. 

As I browsed the library, I was reminded of what a gem that public libraries are. You can borrow and read a book for free. You can browse through magazines and newspapers. You can take an interesting class or have a club meeting. There are programs for children for crafting or participating in reading sessions.

I read a few books a month and get most of my books from thrift stores and garage sales. I get a few books as gifts for birthdays or Christmas. The problem with me buying books is that I buy more than I can read and have them stacked on bookshelves and in my closet. If I would just use the library, I could get books for free and the added benefit is that they store them for me on nice, organized shelves. I really need to consider this option more often!

Do you utilize your local library? If so, what programs have you participated in? Do you use the library just for checking out a book, or do you sit for awhile and read magazines and newspapers?